Episode 659: I’m Turning The Crank! I’m Turning The Crank!

On the Overthinking It Podcast, are you afraid of the dark? We tackle what blackouts and what it means when the lights go out.

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Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather have both experienced a (brief!) blackout during the past week. This cannot be a coincidence! Let’s see if there’s an episode in it.

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7 Comments on “Episode 659: I’m Turning The Crank! I’m Turning The Crank!”

  1. John C Member #

    Around here, we seem to get far fewer power outages than I remember growing up, but they last significantly longer and obviously (as mentioned in the episode) have a more serious impact. Investing in “green energy” would help a lot, since it’d be easier (even necessary) to decentralize power generation, but doing that obviously makes it harder for monopolies to monopolize.

    I have some insight into the “superstorm” term! What happened was that Sandy was a tropical storm or depression (absurdly late in hurricane season) that smashed into a nor’easter. TV meteorologists started referring to it as a “Franken-storm,” because nobody has ever actually read Mary Shelley, but they quickly thought that sounded like they were making light of the danger, so they coined superstorm meant to suggest a combination of storms.

    Trust is an interesting (and usually overlooked) aspect of entertainment. There seems to be a maximum amount of trust that works, too. It’s easy to pick on TV shows that don’t have any endgame, but you also have shows like “How I Met Your Mother” that called their shot in the first season, assuming that they wouldn’t get renewed, and so ended up with an unsatisfying ending that ignored eight years of development. There’s also the relationship-building up front, where a lot of works assume that you already care about the characters and situation, rather than trying to lure the audience in.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      Yeah they should have called it “Frankenstorm’s Monster.”

      EDIT: Would also accept “Frankenstorm’s Moister”, “Moistener,” and “Mister.”


      • John C Member #

        Technically, “Frankenstorm’s Mister” would be Tropical Depression Henry (Clerval), Hurricane Victor’s friend with probable benefits.


    • Margo #

      Power, like the internet, would best serve the populace if it were a public utility.


      • John C Member #

        Definitely. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real study on the topic, but I know there were incidents where municipal Internet service (before the monopolistic ISPs started lobbying for laws banning them) caused tax revenues to shoot up, because that money was going to more useful local places.


  2. Margo #

    Rethink the grid! 20th Century infrastructure can’t deal with a 21st Century Climate. Although renewable infrastructure won’t help if the wind turbines freeze.

    I read an article in The Economist awhile back that really resonated with me. (Sorry I can’t find the link.) Basically, it was pointed out that the 2010’s where a period of technological stagnation, whereas the 2020’s are, so far, a period of innovation. RNA Vaccines weren’t even a thing at the start of the decade. As a treehugger, I am giddy over the boldness of your current president’s policies about adapting to and mitigating climate change. All those electric cars are going to need a new grid to charge them.

    I am not one one to point fingers. In my home province of Nova Scotia the power will go out when birds snack on a power line. I’m not exaggerating.


    • Three Act Destructure #

      It’s a very telling thing about Americans that they were willing to get up in arms about Russians hacking their infrastructure but will say nothing about private companies buying up those same utilities and slowly and deliberately destroying them.

      Unfortunately, this will be the same situation with any electric car infrastructure that ends up being built.


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